The Catalyst Frame Microscope – another miracle of 3D printing

3D printing is revolutionizing the standards of living by a great degree, and here we have another example, to show the true power, might and potential of 3D printing. Jing Luo, an American entrepreneur, who also hold a Graduate degree from University of California (Berkeley), is in the process of producing a portable, user-friendly and accurate microscope that works through your smartphone.

Does Jing Luo, have a Working Prototype?

Luo is currently on the fourth prototype of the Catalyst Frame Microscope, as he has called his creation. This simple construction attaches to the back of your smartphone and works through your camera software. The lens incorporated in this microscope has a magnification range of 30/50/170 or 30/170/340, dependent on the quality of your camera.

What is the Range of Magnification?

As Luo explains – ‘Magnification combines with a multiplicative effect, so if you were to combine a 2x lens with a 3x lens you’d get a total of 6x. The same applies here, the 340x optical magnification combines with the 4.5x digital magnification to get a total of 1530x magnification.’

This means that the range of magnification truly depends on the maximum digital magnification potential of your smartphone’s camera. Looking at ongoing trends in the Smartphone market, every other day new phones are arriving with better cameras, so that makes the range of this Catalyst Frame Microscope, virtually infinite!

However, the images cannot be infinitely magnified; past the maximum resolution the sight will just become blurry, but the creator hopes that this will change, with future models.

The current construction, does however, enable just about the best magnification a portable microscope can offer. It is aimed at (biology) enthusiasts, doctors, scientists in developing countries, and people working outside laboratories, and runs on two AAA batteries which are just about universally available.

For more information and to be a part of the Crowdfunding campaigns, please follow the links below;

Kickstarter Campaign

Indiegogo Campaign

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Sintratec – Affordable SLS 3D printer to be launched soon…

A few days ago, we reported the launch of Ice9 and Ice1 3D printers by Norge Systems, these SLS 3D printers, as proclaimed by Norge Systems – “are the first truly affordable SLS 3D printers for small and medium businesses”. However, as it seems, Norge is not the only contender on the affordable SLS 3D printers, stable.

Sintratec – a Switzerland based company is currently developing a desktop DIY SLS 3D printer, and the forecasted price is almost ½ of the Ice1, which is Norge Systems cheapest model.

What is a SLS 3D Printer?

“Selective Laser Sintering” is one of the oldest 3D printing technology around. It uses laser as the power source to sinter powdered material to create a solid structure. Unlike some other additive manufacturing processes, such as fused deposition modeling (FDM), SLS does not require support structures and can produce parts with fine details.

While there are many desktop 3D printers on the market, most of these printers use a FDM method, not SLS. SLS is often more expensive than FDM machine: a professional SLS 3D printer starts at around 200,000€.

About Sintratec and the Launch:

Sintratec is a Switzerland based company, founded by electrical engineers Joscha Zeltner, Christian Von Burg, and Dominik Solenicki. The Trio have been working on this DIY SLS 3D printer project since 2012.

Sintratec plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in October 2014, with a price that everyone can afford: 3,999€ ($5,277) for backers. Their goal is to raise money to ship at least 60 of the SLS 3D printer kits worldwide.

Do they have a DIY SLS 3D Printer Prototype?

Sintratec does have a working DIY SLS 3D printer prototype, up its sleeves. The current prototype, code named –”Bobby”, is built in sturdy aluminium, foam glass and steel and features 130mm cubed print volume. One main feature to keep the cost down is that they use a compact diode laser intead of CO2 laser commonly used in current SLS 3D printers. Sintratec’s prototype DIY SLS 3D printer uses a diode laser (445nm, blue) with an output power of over 2W. To get a good laser spot they use also beam correction optics. The compact diode laser is much cheaper than CO2 laser and pumps solid-state lasers in the visible spectral region for a more safe operation.

This is all we have for now, for more updates on Sintratec and their new DIY SLS 3D printer, please follow their website.

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3DVIX, a new online 3D printing marketplace

Prinvix, a Miami, Florida based company has rolled out the beta version of its new 3D printing Marketplace, 3DVIX. It uses the same “3D printer on the cloud” technology platform, as Shapeways 3D.

How does it work?

The online portal is so designed that you may either upload your own 3D models or .stl files and the interface makes instant quotes available, based on the type of material you choose, to 3D print the object.

Once the ordering phase is complete, the 3D object is 3D printed and delivered to your address, and yes its international shipping (*charges/rates may change depending on the region).

What is the extra feature or how is this different?

The main advantage of this new online 3D printing portal is that, not only can you order 3D prints of your own 3D models, but also setup a 3DVIX subpage/shop of your own (like eBay) and start selling the products produced by your designs.

Enthusiasts and Designers can setup a store with their own brand within a sub domain of 3DVIX.

The store setup is simple; you make a design and upload it, 3DVIX shows you its 3D printing fees depending on the material you choose to make available to your customer, you then add your own commissions (a.k.a – Mark-up fees) to the final price and promote it on your sub domain page on 3DVIX.

3DVIX will handle the entire promotion, showcasing, sales, invoicing bits, so that you can concentrate on your designs and send you your total commission income, monthly.

What is Prinvix saying?

Prinvix as a 3D printer manufacturer has a well-known presence in Brazil and is setting up 3 local 3D printing shops out there, namely in Sao Paulo, Brasilia and in Porte Alegre.

Victor Mendes, the CEO of Prinvix, has a vision to promote general awareness and education on 3D printing, and to promote its uses in developing countries, as reported on

Makerbot launches new Makercare Protection Plans

Makerbot, one of the major 3D printer manufacturer’s, have come up with major changes to their premium Makercare protection plans. It seems that the company is trying to re-image its after sales reputation by offering more services to its existing customers. It is a well-known fact that a large number of individuals and startup groups are using their Makerbot 3D printers for professional prototyping and service delivery.

How does it work?

Customers, who purchase any Makerbot 5 gen 3D printer, can also buy a one, two or three year comprehensive support plan. The prices vary as per the model of the Makerbot 3D printer purchased. A 3 year plan for the Makerbot Replicator series might cost you anything between $1,000 to $1,600. Looking at the prices, they are definitely not cheap; however Makerbot claims to provide Top-Notch support for any issues, via Internet or call. Customers who already own a MakerBot 5 Gen 3D Printer can extend their support plan until September 2014. Those who have a previous gen MakerBot 3D printer can also extend their current MakerCare support plan for a year or – if not already done so – purchase a new one-year plan from Makerbot.

Is this required?

This is definitely not a necessity, but is only a luxury. We all know that a DIY enthusiast might never purchase a Makerbot in the first place; they would rather get an Open Source 3D printer and tweak it to their own likings or vice-versa. However, Makerbot 3D printers were designed for the no-nonsense 3D printing enthusiast, who would just like to make a design and print is with the click of a button. If you belong to this group of enthusiasts, we would suggest getting your Makerbot printer registered for these support plans. Because, Machines are just that, Machines; and no matter how much you polish it, it may stop working, causing you to (maybe) lose an important project.

MadeSolid launches powerful new resin for SLA 3D printers

MadeSolid, an YC-backed 3D printing materials startup out of Emeryville, CA, is doing R&D to make additional type of resins with distinctive properties for your 3D printer. On Tuesday, MadeSolid proclaimed the launch of its powerful new resin. “This new 3D printable material is meant to face up to the structural demands of purposeful prototyping.” writes MadeSolid. “We have created a resin that has great accrued tensile, flexural, and impact strength.”

The formula stems from the frustration of SLA prints that always very brittle, and most of those prints aren’t sturdy and may not be used as purposeful components. MadeSolid’s powerful new resin is meant for 3D prints that require a lift in strength and sturdiness. MadeSolid hopes the powerful new resin formula can help users to print more purposeful 3D objects.

The resin may be utilized to create gadgets, prototyping wearable objects / jewelry, and components that require to require some stress. MadeSolid’s powerful new resin is offered in orange and yellow and is compatible with quite a few existing SLA/DLP printers. Presales have begun and cargo is expected to start shipping by the end of August. Pre-order value is 1L of Madesolid’s powerful new resin is $119.00.

What does MadeSolid have to say?

MadeSolid’s Tough Resin is designed for prints that need a boost in strength and durability. The formula stems from the frustration of prints breaking too easily and not meeting the demand of functional prints. So we made a resin that will enable you to print functional end parts that survive in the wild better than other resins on the market.” – As quoted on MadeSolid’s website.

This new Resin would definitely improve the quality of SLA 3D Prints.

How to make a working brushless DC motor with a 3D printer

What is a Brushless DC Motor?

A Brushless DC Motor, also known as the electronically commuted motors (ECM), are synchronous motors which are powered by DC electric source, such as a battery.

3D printing a Brushless DC Motor:

This is not a tutorial and so we shall only cover the overall procedure, for details, please download the .PDF/ZIP file available here.

The motor we have here has been designed and tested by Patrick Elles and shared on This 3D printed brushless DC motor can be controlled with the help of Audrino and almost all its parts excluding magnets, solenoid wrapping wire, and Hall Effect sensors, were printed with a Makerbot Replicator 2.

The design consists of 4 basic parts – Bottom enclosure, Rotor, Top enclosure, and Solenoid Magnets.

As explained by Patrick himself – “The bottom enclosure makes up the bottom cap of the motor. The rotor contains the 8 magnets, 4 used to drive the motor and 4 used to provide position data to the hall effect sensors. The rotor slides onto the bottom enclosure in a journal bearing style. The top enclosure fits over the rotor and couples with the bottom piece to enclose the motor. The top enclosure contains the 3 hall effect position sensors, as well as triangle cutouts which allow for the solenoids to snap into the enclosure. The solenoids have triangles placed in their center to allow them to be lined up with the holes in the top enclosure, which themselves are vertically lined up with the rotor magnets.

As is apparent from the pictures the 3D printed parts are made up of PLA filament, according to source specifications include a 20% Infill with 0.2 MM layer height. Patrick explains, “The magnets and hall effect sensors were inserted into assembly by designing a correctly sized internal void in the appropriate place, printing to just below the top of the void, pausing the print and inserting the device, and then continuing the print.”

The pieces are then assembled together to get a 3D printed brushless DC motor.


The details are available as a zip here, along with cad files and the program for the brushless DC motor control. Motor control program for Arduino has been made available here on github. launches new 3D printed product store

Amazon has launched a 3D printed product store, a marketplace that’s designed to offers customers access to a variety of 3D printed products, many which are custom made by material, size, designs and color variations, and customized with text and image imprints. Amazon highlights over two hundred distinctive 3D prints on the platform, as well as jewelry, toys, home décor and fashion accessories.

“The introduction of our 3D printed product store suggests the beginnings of a shift in on-line retail. Sellers, in alignment with designers and makers, can give an additional dynamic inventory for purchasers to modify and really create their own,” aforementioned Petra Schindler-Carter, Director for Amazon Marketplace Sales. To make it simple for purchasers to find 3D printed product, the shop options search tools, interactive 3D preview practicality and a product personalization application.

The new store will feature fun and easy-to-use predefined style templates for buyers to place their individual vogue on an item they like and 3D preview capability to boost the customer expertise. With the 3D product preview operative, customers will be able to 360 degree rotate a virtual model of a product to tailor the item from each angle. When an item is customized and therefore the client has finished the checkout method, the item is 3D printed on-demand by a producing supplier and shipped on to the client.

The 3D printed product store allows each client the chance to be a product designer. For around $40, user can customize things like cufflinks, muff head figurines and funky wine glass holders. Within the $100 worth range, customers will style custom fashion accessories like pendants, earrings and necklaces. The new 3D printed product store additionally provides an entry purpose for designers to supply/print on-demand product styles.


TYTAN 3D – Goliat Extruder

TYTAN 3D, a polish 3D printing start-up by Janusz Wojcik and Pawel Rokita, launched their web site and their initial product – Goliat Extruder, a full metal extruder for FDM 3D printers. The Goliat Extruder is about to launch on Indiegogo this week, trying to boost funding for the total production of Goliat Extruder.

The Goliat extruder is driven by NEMA seventeen stepper motor and it supports linear unit filaments. It’s totally assembled and features J-Head hot finish that is machined from a solid piece of metal, creating it extremely reliable. The extruder has additional area for mounting a forty x forty unit fan. The Goliat extruder is priced at 49 $, which`s a competitive value compared to typical extruders on the market.

Janusz Wojcik and Pawel Rokita are extraordinarily busy men. Besides working on their extruder, they additionally work on 2 3D printers: FDM Fiber 3D and Delta printer that prints in ceramics. They’re additionally accepted in Republic of Poland for organizing the most important 3D printing show in Poland – Day of 3D printing in Kielce in spring, which gathered over 2000 guests. The team believes that the printers are going to be prepared throughout the 3D Printing event in Kielce in the end July month and it’ll print ahead of the audience.

NVBots seeking to lift $150,000 with a crowdfunding campaign on Fundable

Boston-based 3D printing startup NVBots, supported by university students, is seeking to lift $150,000 with a crowdfunding campaign on Fundable, permitting interested parties to assist fund the adoption of the NVBots 3D printing resolution. The corporate leases its NVPrinter, delineated as “the 1st of its kind, absolutely machine-controlled, cloud-connected 3D printer,” to colleges for between $3,000 and $5,000 a year.

NVBots showed off their 3D printer last year at the Nashville mini Maker Faire. Over the past four months, the corporate has raised $850,000 seed funding from angel investors. The NVBots 3D printer permits users to simply share and operate their NVPrinters from any device. Users will print wirelessly via the cloud – they will submit a file, tailor the duty to desired specs and monitor remotely. Once a 3D print job is complete, a robotic arm mechanically removes the object to create space for a future 3D print job, thus you’ll be able to line up jobs from multiple users. Additionally, NVPrinter’s intrinsic camera permits you to monitor your prints remotely from any device. Directors will approve and organize the 3D printing queue via NVPrinter’s management system.

NVBots was supported by graduates AJ Perez, Forrest Pieper, Mateo Pena Doll and Chris Haid – “At NVBots, we have a tendency to feel most 3D printing processes are so much too cumbersome, prohibiting widespread adoption of a technology that may have a huge impact on each education and business,” aforementioned NVBots chief executive officer AJ Perez. The corporate has the goal of delivering NVBots 3D printers to thirty faculties this fall and ultimately have one hundred in use by the end of this year.

More Information can be found on

ColorFabb to produce 3D printing materials in Pellet form

ColorFabb, one of the known manufactures of 3D printing materials and filaments has announced that they would soon be producing the 3D printing materials in pellet form. These pellet filaments are aimed at DIY filament producers, who prefer to use their own DIY filament extruder, such as the Strooder.

What is ColorFabb offering its customers?

ColorFabb is offering a pack of 4 Jar, filled with 3D printing pellets of various colors, customers have the option to select the 4 different colors they need. The total quantity on offer, including all the four jars is ~ 1.2 KG.

How good is the bargain?

A typical Spool of PLA / PHA compatible 3D printing filament costs around € 35 to € 37, and that is for a pack of 750 Grams. ColorFabb offers the pack of 4 jars we mentioned earlier at an attractive price of only € 25, and that is for 1.2 KG of pellets.

ColorFabb also has on offer a pack of WoodFill pellets at an attractive price of € 20 / 1.2 KG, particularly because a typical WoodFill filament would cost you € 40 / 600 Grams.

The full material and price list is shown below;

  • PLA/PHA pellets pack – €25
  • Pre-colored PLA/PHA pellets pack – €25
  • WoodFill pellets pack – €20
  • XT pellets pack – €20
  • PLA pellets pack – €12.50

What does ColorFabb have to say?

ColorFabb CEO Ruud Rouleaux – “We have invested a lot of time and attention to make this an attractive and configurable box, so that the user can select several varieties of 3D printing materials to get started!